Fire Emblem: Awakening Review

romanator0

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PunkRex said:
Anyone else getting that un-easy feeling that FF's having a negative influence on FE? I don't mean in story/character traits but in character design. There seems to be a hell of alot more belts on display and why does the MC have one fully armoured arm and one thats completely bare. I know theres some fighting styles out there that use this but his right arms not even sleaved and why is Marth wearing a butterfly mask, were there no bandanas on hand? I know this complaints petty but I liked the practicality of the previous games weapons and armour and I don't want it to fall into FF's design choices, you know, bigger/more elaborate the better. Soldiers have to be practical, I know its fantasy but stupid is stupid,
I think you have a valid complaint. One of the biggest charms of Fire Emblem's visuals was that everything wasn't over the top and impractical looking. While the screenshots in the review don't look nearly as overly-complex as the costumes in FF they do look a bit more over the top than other Fire Emblem games.
 

RandV80

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The Fire Emblem series is great, but at the same time it really makes me sad that the similar series Shining Force was never able to stick to it's roots and got SEGA'd into obscurity.

That's what I love about the Fire Emblem series, the basic gameplay of today's new release is essential the same as the original game way back when on the NES. And whether it's being released on portable or on console the developers and their fans are just A-Okay with that.
 

-Dragmire-

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Mar 29, 2011
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Revnak said:
-Dragmire- said:
Revnak said:
PowCoJG said:
Oh no! Nonononono... I don't need a Nintendo 3DS sized bill to pay right now! Thank you for the review, but oh my goodness! My insides are twisting with indecision!
DO IT. BECOME ONE WITH THE FLAMES OF THE EMBLEM. *RIDICULOUS CULT GIBBERISH CHANTING*

OT- Glad to see this game get a review here, and a positive one too! However, it raises a fun game design question, is it a bad idea to make a game where you aren't the protagonist, but rather an important secondary character? Can this be a better choice in some ways? I can see the reason why. Think of how many books are narrarated by secondary characters, such as Sherlocke Holmes (I feel like one of those e's doesn't belong...). In many ways this allows for the protagonist's thoughts and motivations to be a mystery to us and to be revealed to us over time. It also fits quite well with the popular method of writing a character as a blank slate while still allowing there to be a defined character driving the plot. However, it removes the feeling that the player is driving the plot, which, unless accounted for, can ruin the feel of a game.
I believe the GBA Fire Emblem had the player character as a tactical adviser and it worked pretty well.
No, it didn't work well because they did next to nothing with it. Occasionally a main character would look at the screen and say a couple things dirrectly to you. That's about it. These occasions were also given next to no meaning by any other part of the game. You were the least important character essentially, which is not really a significant change in design and is in many ways essentially not a change at all considering the responsibilities and traits of your tactician in that game are essentially the same as the ones you have when that character is absent.
Hmm, been a while since I've played it so my memory may be a little off but as much as the player character avatar might have been unnecessary I felt it never detracted from my enjoyment of the game.

If I were to play it again now though my opinion of it might be quite different.
 

archvile93

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The one thing I don't like about this kind of permadeath is it just feels unecessary. If your any distance into the game losing a signle character becomes such a massive handicap that even if the game doesn't fail you immediately you have to restart anyway since the next battle's going to crush you since you're not at full strength. I recall doing this a lot in Final Fantasy Tactics. It's just not worth trying to raise a lv 1 character back to lv 37.
 

Revnak_v1legacy

Fixed by "Monday"
Mar 28, 2010
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-Dragmire- said:
Revnak said:
-Dragmire- said:
Revnak said:
PowCoJG said:
Oh no! Nonononono... I don't need a Nintendo 3DS sized bill to pay right now! Thank you for the review, but oh my goodness! My insides are twisting with indecision!
DO IT. BECOME ONE WITH THE FLAMES OF THE EMBLEM. *RIDICULOUS CULT GIBBERISH CHANTING*

OT- Glad to see this game get a review here, and a positive one too! However, it raises a fun game design question, is it a bad idea to make a game where you aren't the protagonist, but rather an important secondary character? Can this be a better choice in some ways? I can see the reason why. Think of how many books are narrarated by secondary characters, such as Sherlocke Holmes (I feel like one of those e's doesn't belong...). In many ways this allows for the protagonist's thoughts and motivations to be a mystery to us and to be revealed to us over time. It also fits quite well with the popular method of writing a character as a blank slate while still allowing there to be a defined character driving the plot. However, it removes the feeling that the player is driving the plot, which, unless accounted for, can ruin the feel of a game.
I believe the GBA Fire Emblem had the player character as a tactical adviser and it worked pretty well.
No, it didn't work well because they did next to nothing with it. Occasionally a main character would look at the screen and say a couple things dirrectly to you. That's about it. These occasions were also given next to no meaning by any other part of the game. You were the least important character essentially, which is not really a significant change in design and is in many ways essentially not a change at all considering the responsibilities and traits of your tactician in that game are essentially the same as the ones you have when that character is absent.
Hmm, been a while since I've played it so my memory may be a little off but as much as the player character avatar might have been unnecessary I felt it never detracted from my enjoyment of the game.

If I were to play it again now though my opinion of it might be quite different.
It never really got in the way, it just never really did anything is all. It was superfluous. It gave a tiny growth bonus and was recognized with less dialogue than some of the game's lesser bosses.
 

Slycne

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Feb 19, 2006
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I'm actually saving up to buy a 3DS ESPECIALLY for this game.

No one can comprehend how much I love the Fire Emblem franchise. Fire Emblem Rekka No Ken is my second favorite game of all time (Megaman Battle Network 3 being my first, yes they're both handhelds).

This is one of the few games I'll admit I'm a pure fanboy of.

archvile93 said:
The one thing I don't like about this kind of permadeath is it just feels unecessary. If your any distance into the game losing a signle character becomes such a massive handicap that even if the game doesn't fail you immediately you have to restart anyway since the next battle's going to crush you since you're not at full strength. I recall doing this a lot in Final Fantasy Tactics. It's just not worth trying to raise a lv 1 character back to lv 37.
Actually, this is kind of just a player choice. It also adds punishment for dying, which in my opinion, ALL games should have.

In a lot of games nowadays, when you die you just start from a checkpoint that you hit about 2m away. In Fire Emblem when your character died, you either made the choice of going back to the start of the level, or you carried on with that character permanently gone. In my opinion it's a genius death system. No matter what, the player is punished if they die, but the player chooses how they are punished for their death.

It also adds a player attachment to the characters. When one of your favorite characters in the game dies, you feel a lot sadder than you would if there was no permanent death. It immerses you in the game and creates an emotional link.

And in this game, they did add casual mode if you don't want to deal with the death system.

Also, have you ever tried playing Fire Emblem with no restarts? It's hard. It makes you think twice about doing the Arena and it makes you so much more cautious while playing.
 

Bluesclues

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I don't want to seem like a nit-picky jerk, but...

Slycne said:
There have been a few other titles in the series over the years, mostly on the home consoles
In the American releases at least, there have been 4 handheld Fire Emblem releases: Fire Emblem (GBA), FE: The Sacred Stones (GBA), FE: Shadow Dragon (DS), and this one, whereas home console only got 2: FE: Path of Radiance (GC) and FE: Radiant Dawn (Wii). So "mostly" would go to the handhelds, methinks =X
 

Slycne

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Bluesclues said:
I don't want to seem like a nit-picky jerk, but...

Slycne said:
There have been a few other titles in the series over the years, mostly on the home consoles
In the American releases at least, there have been 4 handheld Fire Emblem releases: Fire Emblem (GBA), FE: The Sacred Stones (GBA), FE: Shadow Dragon (DS), and this one, whereas home console only got 2: FE: Path of Radiance (GC) and FE: Radiant Dawn (Wii). So "mostly" would go to the handhelds, methinks =X
Heh, well if you want to get more nit-picky I said other titles, so disregarding Fire Emblem we'd be tied. Everyone's wrong no one wins!

Thanks I'll make an update.
 

Bluesclues

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Slycne said:
Bluesclues said:
I don't want to seem like a nit-picky jerk, but...

Slycne said:
There have been a few other titles in the series over the years, mostly on the home consoles
In the American releases at least, there have been 4 handheld Fire Emblem releases: Fire Emblem (GBA), FE: The Sacred Stones (GBA), FE: Shadow Dragon (DS), and this one, whereas home console only got 2: FE: Path of Radiance (GC) and FE: Radiant Dawn (Wii). So "mostly" would go to the handhelds, methinks =X
Heh, well if you want to get more nit-picky I said other titles, so disregarding Fire Emblem we'd be tied. Everyone's wrong no one wins!

Thanks I'll make an update.
Good point. Now I feel like even more of a jerk, thanks :p haha
 

Colt47

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Gah, now I'm going to have to go get Fire Emblem and trade up my 3DS for a 3DS XL. No way am I playing a game like this on that tiny screen!
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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I was already getting the game anyway as it seems to bring back EVERY system from every FE game ever (the pairing system does sound like a min-maxer's nightmare though). I do wonder how the DLC for the game is going to go as there are a LOT of character in it that have never been shown overseas such as the characters from Gaiden and the Jugdral titles. The character design also looks much improved as the old titles kinda bordered on bland in that department
 

archvile93

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A Smooth Criminal said:
I'm actually saving up to buy a 3DS ESPECIALLY for this game.

No one can comprehend how much I love the Fire Emblem franchise. Fire Emblem Rekka No Ken is my second favorite game of all time (Megaman Battle Network 3 being my first, yes they're both handhelds).

This is one of the few games I'll admit I'm a pure fanboy of.

archvile93 said:
The one thing I don't like about this kind of permadeath is it just feels unecessary. If your any distance into the game losing a signle character becomes such a massive handicap that even if the game doesn't fail you immediately you have to restart anyway since the next battle's going to crush you since you're not at full strength. I recall doing this a lot in Final Fantasy Tactics. It's just not worth trying to raise a lv 1 character back to lv 37.
Actually, this is kind of just a player choice. It also adds punishment for dying, which in my opinion, ALL games should have.

In a lot of games nowadays, when you die you just start from a checkpoint that you hit about 2m away. In Fire Emblem when your character died, you either made the choice of going back to the start of the level, or you carried on with that character permanently gone. In my opinion it's a genius death system. No matter what, the player is punished if they die, but the player chooses how they are punished for their death.

It also adds a player attachment to the characters. When one of your favorite characters in the game dies, you feel a lot sadder than you would if there was no permanent death. It immerses you in the game and creates an emotional link.

And in this game, they did add casual mode if you don't want to deal with the death system.

Also, have you ever tried playing Fire Emblem with no restarts? It's hard. It makes you think twice about doing the Arena and it makes you so much more cautious while playing.
It just doesn't feel like you have any real choice. Pressing on with one man down is suicidal. I don't necessarily mind, permadeath, I just don't see why it couldn't just cut out the middleman and give you an immediate game over when any character dies since anyone sane will reset.
 

NoPants2win

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"My friend" has never played a Fire Emblem game and would like to get into the series. Which game should "my friend" start with?
 

Slycne

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Feb 19, 2006
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NoPants2win said:
"My friend" has never played a Fire Emblem game and would like to get into the series. Which game should "my friend" start with?
The one on the GBA that's just called Fire Emblem is a good place to start.

Sacred Stones lets you grind for levels, so if that's appealing to you, go for it.

Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are the best ones.

Shadow Dragon is bad, skip it.
 

Slycne

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Feb 19, 2006
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archvile93 said:
It just doesn't feel like you have any real choice. Pressing on with one man down is suicidal. I don't necessarily mind, permadeath, I just don't see why it couldn't just cut out the middleman and give you an immediate game over when any character dies since anyone sane will reset.
My route has been to let characters die if it feels like an appropriate moment. Sometimes the young lad that recklessly rushed into battle to prove himself really is just reckless. There is more than enough redundancy in the roster that you can loose a fair share of the characters. And even if 99/100 times you're restarting I still feel it's an important system to keep around because it does force you to weigh your investment with these characters. If it's some fluke first turn death sure, but if I'm 1/2 and hour into a chapter and otherwise doing well, that's another story. I still feel like there is an increased tension to it, despite however hollow it actually is.

Also if the game automatically restarted on any death you'd also run a team of really boring characters, ie practically all knights all the time, and you'd be playing the same team over and over.
 

Arcadian Legend

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Jan 9, 2012
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NoPants2win said:
"My friend" has never played a Fire Emblem game and would like to get into the series. Which game should "my friend" start with?
Either FE7 (simply called Fire Emblem on Western shores) for the GBA or FE9/FE: Path of Radiance for the GameCube would both be good places to start out. PoR also has a direct sequel for the Wii (FE10) called Radiant Dawn.
 

Revnak_v1legacy

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Mar 28, 2010
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NoPants2win said:
"My friend" has never played a Fire Emblem game and would like to get into the series. Which game should "my friend" start with?
Path of Radiance has the most accessable mechanics, Fire Emblem for the GBA is the first western release, and Awakening has a casual mode. Path of Radiance is the best option in my opinion though. As long as you use the main character a lot and follow virtually any guide when you have problems you should be fine as it is incredibly easy. And arguably one of the best too.
 

Slycne

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Feb 19, 2006
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NoPants2win said:
"My friend" has never played a Fire Emblem game and would like to get into the series. Which game should "my friend" start with?
Lots of great advice given already, but just in case, and to be clear, Fire Emblem isn't a contiguous series, baring a few recurring elements. So if you're interested in Awakening you don't need to have played a previous one, if that was your intent.
 

Slycne

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Feb 19, 2006
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archvile93 said:
It just doesn't feel like you have any real choice. Pressing on with one man down is suicidal. I don't necessarily mind, permadeath, I just don't see why it couldn't just cut out the middleman and give you an immediate game over when any character dies since anyone sane will reset.
Meh. Playing Path of Radiance (Gamecube release), I had several characters die right off the bat on me and didn't much care. Why?

Because Soren was a worthless twat, and the few other characters that died were nigh-on useless. One of which, a healer.

Perhaps its because I was lucky. Perhaps its because I had Titania tearing the respawning 3x3 grid of Bandits a whole series of new ones with her axes. Perhaps its because I funneled my bonus XP into the characters I actually used. I don't know why exactly, just that the loss of those characters never affected me negatively.

In fact I had plenty of cash so that when the game let me build weapons, I had rather cheap, Overpowered weapons to swing about for many a crit.


Nothing really changed later on either, let me tell you. I'm also quite sane, and hate it when a game proposes some rather insane idium like "Hey, insignificant bugger #50 died, GAME OVER MAN!".

You don't like losing characters? Fine. I don't like wasting my time. That's what your suggestion would do, waste my time. So guess what anyone sane with my preferences would say to that suggestion?
 

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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The permadeath feature always bugged me when I played the DS game, Shadow Dragon I think (my first Fire Emblem game) So a mode where they leave the screen is good so I can get used to the game and enjoy the story, then replay it and feel the tension of the permadeath!

Great review, picking this up when I can!